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Kentucky vs. Transylvania: A Rivalry Renewed


Tonight, when No. 2 Kentucky plays host to the Heartland Conference preseason favorite, the all-time series record will swing in one direction. The two schools are currently tied at seven wins apiece so someone has to take the lead (unless they tie, of course.) The smart money is on Kentucky, but if history has anything to say about it, Transy can hang some points on the Wildcats. The Pioneers have outscored Kentucky 303 to 182 in the series.

I dusted off the old KSR time machine (with the help of Big Blue History) and revisited each of the previous 14 meetings.

Take a ride with me…

Kentucky vs. Transylvania: All-Time Series

February 20, 1903

The first game between the two schools came in Kentucky’s first season in 1903. Kentucky State College, as the Cats were known at that time, entered the contest with a 1-1 record after an opening loss to Georgetown followed by a 11-10 win against the Lexington YMCA.

Transylvania went by Kentucky University at that time and they were the seasoned team with two years of basketball under their gym belts. That extra year of experience propelled KU to victory.

Hogan and Worth Yancey, two brothers from Leesburg, Virginia, led the way for Kentucky University. Basketball historians compare the duo’s dominance to the Lopez twins from Stanford. Their father, Hogan Yancey, would eventually become the mayor of Lexington, although that had nothing to do with this game.

Kentucky University 42, Kentucky  2

Series Record: Transy (1-0) Kentucky (0-1)

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February 12, 1904

The two schools met twice during the 1904 season, but the meetings did not come without controversy. The newly formed Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Association established a rule protecting college athletics from professionals: “No coach or instructor in athletics or any one who has played on a professional team, or any one who has received compensation of any character for any kind of athletic services can be eligible to play on any college athletic team.”

The Yancey brothers were forced to sit out because they both played professional baseball in the offseason. A #FreeHogan and #FreeWorth campaign began in Lexington to fight for their eligibility. It was unsuccessful but it did sell a lot of t-shirts.

Still, without the Yancey brothers, Kentucky University would go on to win a fluke ballgame. KU was scheduled to play Georgetown on that night, but the two schools couldn’t agree on a referee so the game was cancelled. An unprepared Kentucky team volunteered to step in and would go on to the lose the game.

Kentucky University 12, Kentucky 5

Series Record: Transy (2-0) Kentucky (0-2)

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February 26, 1904

The second game in February of 1904 came down to the wire. It ended with a running floater at the buzzer from KU’s Howard Guyn.

I know this because Larry Vaught just tweeted the final score from his Droid.

Kentucky University 14, Kentucky 12

Series Record: Transy (3-0) Kentucky (0-3)

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January 27, 1905

It was a tale of two halves in the teams’ first of three meetings in 1905. Kentucky University took a 10-0 lead to start the game but those boys from Kentucky State College wouldn’t go away. An unfortunate thumb injury sent Kentucky’s Don Pedro Branson to the bench for the game but that didn’t keep the team from rolling to a comeback victory, its first win of the series.

Joe Coons was the leading scorer with almost half of his team’s points with 14. Franklin Wallace scored 12 in the losing effort for KU.

Kentucky 30, Kentucky University 29

Series Record: Transy (3-1) Kentucky (1-3)

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February 4, 1906

The two teams met again just one week later in a blowout win for Kentucky University, despite missing their captain Will Hayden.

Jerry Tipton of The Lexington-Leader discovered that Hayden’s family received impermissible benefits from a booster during his recruitment. The benefits included 5 dollars in cash, two wagons, a mule, and three pairs of Beats By Dre studio headphones.

The Hayden family was forced to pay the money back and Tipton was offered a 150-year contract with the newspaper.

Kentucky University 22, Kentucky 1

Series Record: Transy (4-1) Kentucky (1-4)

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February 22, 1905

The third game of 1905 was a “rubber match” between the two schools. Kentucky fought hard throughout but 18 points from J. Franklin Wallace was just too much to overcome in the end.

Kentucky University won the state title for a third year in a row.

Kentucky University 33, Kentucky 23

Series Record: Transy (5-1) Kentucky (1-5)

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Date Unknown, 1906

The KIAA cancelled the 1906 basketball game after a fight broke out during a football game between the two colleges over Thanksgiving.

The basketball managers agreed to sneak in a game at the Cincinnati YMCA anyway.

Kentucky won. The final score was not recorded.

Series Record: Transy (5-2) Kentucky (2-5)

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February 15, 1907

Things returned to normal in 1907.

The Lexington-Leader wrote, “Everyone seems pleased that athletic relations have been re-established between the rivals, as the games between them have always been watched with the keenest interest.”

No one read it, though. Blogs had already begun taking over the world.

Kentucky 16, Kentucky University 14

Series Record: Transy (5-3) Kentucky (3-5)

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March 7, 1907

KU got back on the right track with a win in a game that was known as a “slugfest”. Gilbert Campbell led the way with 11 of his team’s 19 points, with nine of them coming from the free throw line.

However, the real story of the game came from the distractions in KU’s gymnasium. The game report reads, “the gym is unfortunate in having a gas jet with a handsome large globe attachment at each end, near the baskets. Four times during the game these globes were brought into play and were shattered, delaying the game considerably.”

It’s the last time pyrotechnics were used indoors until WCW Nitro revived the craze in the 90s.

Kentucky University 19, Kentucky 5

Series Record: Transy (6-3) Kentucky (3-6)

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January 21, 1908 / February 4, 1908

Two games were played in 1908 and both ended with identical scores. This led basketball fans across the state to believe there was a point scandal going on in the series.

That wasn’t the case.

Kentucky’s Shelby Post and Shelby Shanklin were just too much for Kentucky University and they both loved consistency in numbers. That’s all.

Kentucky 20, Kentucky University 15 / Kentucky 20, Kentucky University 15

Series Record: Transy (6-5) Kentucky (5-6)

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January 20, 1911

Kentucky University officially changed its name to Transylvania on June 12, 1908. Two and a half years later, a basketball rivalry was renewed with Kentucky and the two schools played a three-game series in 1911.

The first meeting that season was a close one but Transy pulled off a five point victory in the end. Had Kentucky’s Derrill Hart shot better from the foul line, it could’ve been a different story. The forward from Pisgah, KY only made 4 of his 12 attempts at the line.

Transylvania 23, Kentucky 18

Series Record: Transy (7-5) Kentucky (5-7)

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February 27, 1911

Kentucky trailed 14-10 at halftime in the second game of the 1911 season. Historians say Transylvania’s gym was packed with opposing fans cheering for the Blue and White. That support for Kentucky rallied the team to a 22-19 victory behind center W.C. Harrison’s 10 points.

The big win gave Kentucky the nickname, “The Comeback Cats.” It is misbelieved that this nickname was given to the 1998 National Championship team at Kentucky. If you believe that, you’re wrong. That was a marketing ploy by Kroger to sell more DVDs by the U-Scan. (Although I did see a little bit of W.C. Harrison in Scott Padgett when he hit the three-pointer against Duke.)

W.C. Harrison was trending nationwide on Twitter during the second half.

Kentucky 22, Transylvania 19

Series Record: Transy (7-6) Kentucky (6-7)

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March 3, 1911

In the final game of 1911, and the last time the two schools played, Kentucky used a balanced attack with Frank Marx, Derrill Hart and W.C. Harrison to get a victory and even the all-time series at seven games apiece.

Kentucky’s 12 made field goals were enough to earn fans a free Hershey’s Milk Chocolate Bar from R.C. Preston’s family grocery store with a game ticket stub.

Kentucky 30, Transylvania 24

Series Record: Transy (7-7) Kentucky (7-7)

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November 2, 2011

Only time will tell…

Article written by Drew Franklin

I can recite every line from Forrest Gump, blindfolded. Follow me on Twitter: @DrewFranklinKSR

23 responses to “Kentucky vs. Transylvania: A Rivalry Renewed”

  1. TheNewOriginal

    Leonardo Decaprio was a coach at Transy?

  2. TheNewOriginal

    Leonardo Dicaprio was a coach at Transy?

  3. how conservative is your congressman ad

    Disappointing to learn from the ad at the top of the page that Ben Chandler is 20% Conservative. At least he’s not as bad as some of the others who were ranked at 50% or higher…YIKES!

  4. GoCats2

    Im surprised more hasnt been made that this is the tiebreaking game in the series between these two. That should make this game Epic.
    Ok, in this picture which one is Matt and which one is Tomlin?

  5. University of Basketball
  6. Adam

    I assume Jerry Tipton was writing the same crap back then

  7. Jughead07

    ESPN Liggins as Jones = ESPN Fail

  8. CATSCATSCATS

    How many more posts about UK vs. Transy do we need to read? I took one look at the heading and kept scrolling. Borrrrrinnnnngggg.

  9. bmac

    Ha, another recruit’s eligibility being questioned for Calhoun and UConn. He has got to be the slimiest coach in the country. He is certainly the most unlikeable. Of course regardless of what the kid did then NCAA will slap his wrist and let him play. Calhoun is a made man in the NCAA.

  10. fly soup

    seems like a huge waste of time to write all of this

  11. Bknowsbest

    can someone explain why the scores were so low, 2 points??

  12. T.J.

    11- Because this was pre-civil rights.

  13. Carabara

    For 1903 guys, that team was cute…..!

  14. wow

    How do you only score 1 point lol

  15. Yessir

    No 3’s, no 2’s, no dribbling

  16. RidgeRunner

    Enjoyed that history ride, Drew.

  17. Han

    11) For one thing, this was pre-shot clock, so however long they played, a lot of the game time was literally spent holding the ball.

  18. RidgeRunner

    11…as Han said, holding the ball was popular.

    I read on this some time back and I think there are several reasons as well. Heck, the ball and rim/basket -neither was the perfect shape, all players shot the ball with 2 hands, coaching was just really there to make sure a few of the guys rotated out, etc…

  19. Bledsoe's Biceps

    At that time, I think they also had a jump ball after every made basket. So you could make a basket, control the tip and never give the other team a chance to score.

  20. LOL

    “Jerry Tipton of The Lexington-Leader discovered that Hayden’s family received impermissible benefits from a booster during his recruitment. The benefits included 5 dollars in cash, two wagons, a mule, and three pairs of Beats By Dre studio headphones.

    The Hayden family was forced to pay the money back and Tipton was offered a 150-year contract with the newspaper.”

    Made me laugh.

  21. KevinC

    So, anyone know why exactly they changed their school name to Transylvania, of all things? Also, do they only offer night classes, and play night games at Transylvania? 😉

  22. billy

    AND KENTUCKY COUNTS THESE AS WINS? How do you play a basketball game and score only 2 points?

  23. uk3k

    @22 that still how most of the big 10 plays.